This article examines the reactions of UK, US, Chinese and Indian lawyers to the Copenhagen Conference and the resulting Accord, and discusses the possible commercial implications and outcomes of the document, and their predictions for climate change issues going forward.
The international community had high hopes for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference (COP 15), which took place in Copenhagen between 7 and 18 December 2009. Chief among these was the desire to negotiate an international agreement that would come into place when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. However, in the weeks leading up to the Conference, and as the Conference progressed, this looked increasingly unlikely to be achieved. Instead, what did result was a non-legally binding three-page document known as the Copenhagen Accord, which has attracted much criticism for its lack of substance. (For more detailed information on the Copenhagen Conference and Accord, see PLC Environment, Article, Outcome of the Copenhagen Conference: detailed analysis (www.practicallaw.com/9-501-1193)).
This article examines the reactions of UK, US, Chinese and Indian lawyers to the Conference and the Accord, and discusses the possible commercial implications and outcomes of the document, and their predictions for climate change issues going forward.
Although expectations were managed prior to the start of the Conference by governments warning that a legally binding deal may not be achieved, many were still hopeful that a meaningful outcome might still be reached.
Chris Staples, a partner at Linklaters, shares many lawyers' views when he states that "as somebody who works in this area and who is passionate about the subject, consistent with the science, I wanted to see as strong a signal for investment as possible". He hoped the US and China "would manage to bridge some of the gaps that existed between them" given the amount of activity that had taken place between the two countries in the lead up to the Conference.
Anju Sanehi, counsel at Hunton & Williams in London, notes that "the intention since the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali was to have concrete targets set out for developed counties and a mechanism to get there for the developing countries". She notes that because expectations were managed, people went into the Conference expecting less ambitious targets, but that targets would nonetheless be agreed.
Daniel Price ran the Major Economies climate process for President George W Bush, an initiative aimed at reaching consensus among the 17 largest emitters that has been continued by the Obama Administration. Now a partner at Sidley Austin in Washington DC, he comments that in the run up to Copenhagen and before the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) meeting hosted in Singapore in November 2009, "many believed that Copenhagen would succeed in resolving all the major impediments to the negotiation of a new treaty". While expectations for Copenhagen were lowered at the APEC meeting, Price says that "the leaders still hoped to achieve a political agreement on a number of key issues that had bedevilled the negotiations for a number of years".
The key issues that leaders hoped to resolve were:
Whether all major economies, both developed and developing, would make binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
If so, how such commitments would be monitored and enforced.
What the scale and form of financial assistance offered to countries to adapt to climate change and meet their commitments might be, or whether there would be an agreement on common regulatory principles that would form the basis for a market in carbon credits for these countries.
Chris Tung, a partner from K&L Gates in Hong Kong, was cautiously optimistic at the start of the Conference that there might be some significant decisions on emissions reductions and processes such as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
Similarly, Tom Fu a partner from JSM in Beijing, notes that parties also hoped that, on a procedural level, there would be some reform of the current procedure for the validation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects and the verification of emissions reductions, "as the current procedures are not entirely transparent". He thought that "Copenhagen was the perfect opportunity to deal with this".
RN Jhunjhunwala, a partner from Khaitan & Co in India, says that the prevailing hope in India was for "an equitable, fair and legally binding agreement to come out of the Conference". Els Reynaers-Kini from MV Kini in India also points out that clients she works with "who have finally warmed up to the idea of CDM opportunities offered under the Kyoto Protocol, were hoping to receive some indication of the CDM regime after 2012". They also hoped to get some clarity on the emissions reductions commitments that were to be discussed by the major economies.
Despite their initial hopes, lawyers around the world seem unanimous in their disappointment with the negotiations that took place in Copenhagen, as well as the resulting Copenhagen Accord. "What we got was not ambitious by any definition," says Staples.
The Copenhagen Accord is a three-page document that was eventually put together by the US, India, China, Brazil and South Africa, and which was "noted" by the 194 countries involved in the negotiations. To summarise, the Accord briefly sets out that:
Countries must work together to limit the increase in global temperature to less than two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.
Annex I countries should submit their emissions reductions targets, and Non-Annex I countries should submit their mitigation actions, in the two appendices included at the end of the Accord. These tables were left blank and were to be filled in by 31 January.
Emissions reduction efforts, and mitigation actions, will be subject to measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) requirements. For developed countries, these MRV requirements will be subject to international rules. For developing countries, the MRV requirements will be subject to domestic rules.
Developed countries should provide developing countries with finance and technology to help them implement their adaptation, mitigation and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD-plus) programmes. A Copenhagen Green Climate Fund will be created for some of this funding.
A REDD-plus mechanism to provide incentives to reduce emissions through deforestation is crucial and needs to be established.
The Accord will be assessed and reviewed in 2015, and the review should consider attempting to limit the long-term global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Lawyers and commentators note that it was a very high-level document, with little or no detail given on any of its key points. (For more information see PLC Environment, Legal Update, Outcome of Copenhagen Conference: a brief summary (www.practicallaw.com/7-501-0972)).
Gavin Tait, formerly head of carbon trading at ABN Amro, comments that "the trading community was disappointed and the carbon price went down as a result". However, he says that this "was not a major collapse, but a letting off of steam" after it was clear that a deal would not happen. He was also frustrated about the lack of progress in the development of international trading markets: "the Australian and US trading schemes are both mired in domestic politics and there is nothing to suggest that this will ease at all. They were the two great hopes for the international trading community". (For more information, see PLC Cross-border, Article, Carbon funds at the crossroads (www.practicallaw.com/4-501-1746)).
Many lawyers were unsurprised by the outcome, even going as far as describing it as "predictable". Jonathan Martel, a partner from Arnold & Porter in Washington DC, thought the Conference was "a bit premature from the US standpoint, particularly in light of its domestic process". Scott Stone, an attorney from Hunton and Williams' Washington DC office, also thought it was unsurprising that broad and detailed agreement was not reached at the Conference, "given the complex technical and political issues at stake and the clear need for more time to resolve them".
Price points out that, considering the number of goals that parties went into the Conference with, the Conference inevitably ended up being "a significant disappointment" with a number of open questions still left unanswered. Tallat Hussain, environmental counsel from White & Case in London, agrees saying that "the time line was too short to get that many parties to agree on something so complex". Stone also notes that "the negotiations became victims of overly high expectations" by virtue of the fact that climate change is such a high profile issue and more than 100 heads of state were attending.
Price thinks that Copenhagen's failure cannot be placed squarely at any one country's door: "I think one of the political takeaways of Copenhagen is that many European countries thought the greatest impediment to a new agreement would be the absence of a firm commitment from the US to reduce greenhouse gases. However, the US went there prepared to commit to a 17% reduction below 2005 levels." He thinks that, unfortunately, this did not trigger a willingness on the part of major emerging markets to also make a binding commitment. Price adds that "one of the things Copenhagen did was to remove the sense of many in the international community that the US was the impediment to moving forward. The real impediment remains, as it always has been, the unwillingness of the major emerging markets to commit internationally to binding greenhouse gas reductions".
However, Michael Gerrard, professor at Columbia Law School and senior counsel at Arnold & Porter in New York, has a slightly different take on the issue, and sees some positivity in the fact that China did engage in the process. "While the Chinese delegation may not have behaved well in the formal proceedings, they crossed several essential thresholds: they agreed to reduce their emissions intensity; they agreed to some international monitoring; and they apparently agreed that they would not need international financial assistance for these things". He thinks that these indicators "set us on the right path".
Price also concedes that "the minimalist view on Copenhagen's success is that China's willingness to inscribe its domestic programme in an international document, was a modest step forward".
Fu agrees that the message that was being sent by China was positive and that "the fact that the Chinese government has taken the initiative, at least unilaterally, to give out a clear and definite emissions reduction target is what matters most". Tung concurs, and points out that "from an Asian and Chinese perspective, they felt like they had brought quite a lot to the table and had come quite far on the commitment to reduce emissions and national action".
Meanwhile, the view from India was one of dismay mixed with tentative optimism. Els Reynaers-Kini thinks that, in the main "it was a victory for the US", but that it was also, to some extent, "a victory for India in that the Kyoto Protocol track remained, so all parties were still bound by the main principles of the Kyoto Protocol". She thinks that India went into the negotiations with an open mind and willingness to make some commitments in spite of the perception that the country has been "hard line" about these in the past. However, no clarity was given about the future of the UN's CDM, which was a clear disappointment.
Andrew Hedges from Norton Rose considers Copenhagen to be "a disappointment that lessened with analysis". On the one hand, he was pleased that the principles of a global REDD programme were discussed, but dissatisfied that the methodological guidelines and detailed work on this was left to be worked out by the Convention's technical bodies. As a result, he estimates that "even if we do proceed with the negotiations for REDD at the meeting in Bonn and then in Mexico City, we have probably lost 12 months of work on starting to develop key methodologies and guidelines".
Hedges says that, other than REDD, there was discussion of significant interim finance and of initiatives by individual governments, groups of governments and international bodies, so "not all progress has stopped".
Tung points out that, despite the Conference being "politicised, with businesses, policy makers, lobbyists and protesters", the fact that an Accord was reached is significant. "It at least outlines some of the essentials of what we need going forward," he says. Tung summarises the Copenhagen Accord as "a half time point, hopefully on its way to a full or substantial treaty in Mexico towards the end of the year". Cancun in Mexico will host the next UNFCCC COP 16 summit in late November 2010.
In spite of the negative publicity the Copenhagen Accord received, some lawyers are cautiously hopeful that the depressed carbon markets will recover. The EU has stated that its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) will continue beyond 2012, and a number of countries are pushing through domestic policies to reduce emissions and prevent climate change. However, the Accord did not include any detailed provisions about what the EU's (and other countries') emissions reduction targets will be, and what will happen to CDM and Joint Implementation (JI) credits after 2012. This lack of detail could have major practical and commercial implications.
As Tait points out, the price of CDM credits (Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs)) and EU ETS credits (European Union Allowances (EUAs)) went down as a result of Copenhagen. He thinks that the Conference was important for the trading markets in Europe, particularly the EU ETS, CDM and JI markets, because whatever the outcome, confidence in the markets would be affected. However, Europe's offer to reduce its GHG emissions by 30% reductions from the 1990 baseline by 2020 was not matched by other countries, in terms of the size of reductions and the baseline used. He thinks it is clear now that Europe will not come close to the 30% cuts it offered, but will instead aim to achieve cuts closer to 20% by 2020. Tait sees two major implications from this: one is that this will increase the pressure on EUAs; and that after 2012, the EU ETS will be the only major market for CDM and JI credits.
Hedges suggests that the carbon market, and particularly carbon finance driven through the CDM, is already starting to face a hiatus because a number of originators and funds have deployed their investments and are now in the process of managing their portfolios. He notes "it is now more about yield management, rather than new investments". As a result, he thinks that in the wake of Copenhagen, and in the absence of the development of any new mechanisms, "you may well find a more subdued carbon market, at least to do with the CDM".
Staples agrees with the pessimism concerning the carbon markets and emissions trading in general. He predicts that "without a clear demand for credits from project mechanisms, the growth that we have seen in the carbon markets over the last five years cannot possibly continue".
By contrast, Hussain notes that, despite the outcome of the Conference, she still has clients wanting to undertake CDM projects and thinks that "commercially there is some confidence that something will be put in place after the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012". She says that clients have been including specific terms in their project agreements to enable them to continue to capture and sell credits after 2012 "with contingencies, if the Kyoto Protocol will not be in place". She comments that the market has not totally lost confidence in the carbon markets or CDM projects but has "actually strengthened a bit of the resolve that, sooner or later, more players will get involved in the market place in some form and there will be room for more projects to occur". Hussain's view is that "many think that it is business as usual, and if the worst thing that happens is that the Kyoto Protocol stays looking as it does, clients are still willing to engage in projects, adjusting for the risks". She particularly mentions that clients from developing countries are continuing to seek out CDM projects for the purposes of generating and selling credits.
Tait thinks it is encouraging that the UNFCCC began to address a number of criticisms regarding CDM and JI projects. For example, he notes that criticisms regarding the independence of designated operational entities (DOEs) which act as carbon auditors, approving CDM and JI projects on behalf of the UNFCCC and paid by project developers, were addressed by the UNFCCC. He thinks it is "encouraging that the UN is looking at these and asking how it can tighten up against the criticism that has been brought against these mechanisms". He thinks this is a good long-term indication.
Tait is also enthusiastic that REDD was discussed, albeit with little detail. He points out that REDD "is widely acknowledged as the absolute lynchpin for the two degree target and is likely to have major implications for the CDM and JI market". He thinks if REDD could be included in the CDM, with credits to be issued, "it could be radical for those mechanisms". He does note that the UN will be cautious, however, in case REDD "swamps the market with new credits and causes a price collapse". Tait thinks that the EU probably will be the only real buyer for these REDD credits, and that "it is an exciting time for that side of the market with some potentially big shifts ahead".
Staples is broadly optimistic about the general commercial consequences of Copenhagen. He thinks that the clean technology sector in particular "will continue to see growth that probably outperforms many other sectors". He notes that, for individual businesses involved in clean tech in the UK and Europe, "there are still pieces of legislation and regulatory change coming through which are going to be very important for them and will be sufficient to drive growth forward. In a sense, they will not be directly affected by Copenhagen". He expects that growth in the clean tech sector will continue, but perhaps not as quickly as it might have been had Copenhagen resulted in a legally binding deal. (For more information see PLC Cross-border, Article, The geography of cleantech ventures (www.practicallaw.com/1-500-8340)).
Hedges thinks it is still a little early to predict what will happen as a result of Copenhagen, but he is confident national plans for clean energy and other technologies will continue. "For many people, the underlying drivers have not changed. There is nothing that has come out of Copenhagen that would indicate that there has been a lessening of interest from Western governments in driving low carbon technology and energy choices. There will still be feed-in tariff regimes and government plans for public private finance, clean energy and other technologies"
Hedges thinks the sector could be moving from a centrally driven international process to a more fragmented process "driven by local or regional initiatives".
Hedges thinks that clients will need to be prepared for changes to the way in which they invest or take advantage of commercial opportunities, which will perhaps move from international processes to national and domestic initiatives. He thinks that global investors and global businesses will "need to be a bit more nimble and understand where the action is, and how to work with host countries or regional governments". Interestingly, US and Asian lawyers are also predicting this type of domestically driven work in the future, rather than "top down" international initiatives.
Staples says that it is likely to be a complex situation for investors, because "they will be trying to assess the risks to their business and investment in different jurisdictions, which have different regulatory frameworks and are subject to different political considerations".
The commercial implications of Copenhagen are far from clear in the US and are heavily subject to US domestic measures to curb climate change. Currently, there is no federal legislative framework for limiting climate change in the US. However, the US Supreme Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) already has authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The EPA regulations are planned for March 2010. The Waxman-Markey bill that proposes cap and trade legislation looks to have insufficient support in the Senate at the moment. Domestic regulation curbing emissions under the Clean Air Act, and the EPA, are likely to have a far greater effect on businesses than the Copenhagen Accord.
According to Roger Martella, a partner from Sidley Austin in Washington DC and former general counsel of the EPA, it was symbolic that on the first day of the Copenhagen Conference the EPA made a significant science-based admission that greenhouse gases endanger human health and public welfare. Martella thinks that this was President Obama's administration indicating that it would tackle climate change, if not through legislation, then through the EPA's regulatory authority.
This statement from the EPA is, according to Martella, likely to "enable the EPA to enact a very comprehensive regime for regulating greenhouse gases in the future, particularly if there is no international agreement and no domestic legislation".
Martel agrees and thinks that the EPA, and the Clean Air Act will most likely precede legislation such as the potential Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, which he thinks has seen "a fracturing of support in Congress".
Martella thinks the likelihood of any cap and trade legislation in the US within the next year or two looks as low as zero to ten percent: "Many are proceeding on the assumption that there will be no legislation on cap and trade for the foreseeable future, or at least until the 2012 elections". In any case, lawyers report that a cap and trade programme raises a number of unanswered questions, such as whether there will be any market regulation; whether there is the chance that derivative-type securities might be used; and how a market-based system might be protected from vulnerability to booms and crashes.
Although the chances of a nationwide cap and trade programme seem remote, some states, such as California, have moved ahead with their own formal cap and trade proposals. While a number of ideas have been generated at the state level, these are not yet substantial enough to make a noticeable difference on a national basis.
The most likely scenario, says Martella, will be a "command and control" system. The prediction is that the EPA will directly regulate sources that emit greenhouse gases and control the way these sources use energy by, for example, making them more energy efficient or, ultimately, fuel-switch from coal to natural gas.
Martel thinks that the EPA has "a lot of leverage to be very aggressive". He predicts that it will have the ability to enforce reductions in certain areas of industry, such as energy-intensive industries like cement, refinery or power plants, where reducing emissions will make the largest difference and will be the easiest to quantify.
Martel predicts that the EPA could potentially start to quantify the reductions it is making and could therefore argue that, if it starts to achieve significant reductions towards the 17% Copenhagen commitment (of 2005 levels) by 2020, domestic climate change legislation might not be as pressing from Congress. Martel thinks that this "could also take the heat off the need to show a new legislative programme to meet the international obligations, because the US could go back to the international community and show that they are making progress towards the principles of Copenhagen, through domestic regulation".
At the moment there is a lot of anxiety and concern in the US business community because while people recognise that carbon control is coming, there is still a lot of uncertainty as to what form it will take, despite the apparent progress made by the EPA.
In the absence of a climate change bill, some politicians such as Senator Murkowski, the Republican Senator for Alaska, have asked Congress to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions (see New York Times, Murkowski Mayhem Highlights Uncertainty for Climate Bill, 22 January 2010). Andrew Shoyer, a partner from Sidley Austin in Washington DC, notes that "this clearly introduces continuing uncertainty for our clients. However, we advise them that the more likely scenario is that the EPA will continue to move ahead and that it has a deadline of March, when its new regulations on cars and light trucks will be put into place".
Gerrard agrees and thinks that, notwithstanding the political opposition, "the odds are good that the EPA's plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under its existing authority will continue, (though parts of it may be delayed or watered down), so clients need to be compliant with the reporting rules and should be gearing up to comply with the expected permitting requirements".
Martel concurs that the business community and clients need to prepare, but also predicts that the EPA regulations threaten to cause "significant disruption", and that there continues to be a number of questions and uncertainty regarding what will eventually be required.
Some lawyers in the US expressed concern about the potential effects of a lack of a binding agreement at Copenhagen on international trade. Price says that "the spectre is out there that, in the absence of a global agreement, countries will unilaterally impose trade barriers to the importation of products from countries who, in their view, are not taking adequate measures on climate change".
Martel also thinks that there is a potential for "business leakage" to occur: "you are just going to find that certain businesses start moving to the developing world where they are not constrained, and then customers are just going to import from them rather than from us".
Chinese lawyers are concerned about uncertainty surrounding CDM projects in the wake of Copenhagen, but are seeing domestic policies gain strength in lieu of an international treaty.
Fu thinks it is inevitable that China, as one of the key players for hosting CDM projects, will be affected by the lack of certainty in Copenhagen. He speculates that, "the absence of a clear indication of what is going to happen to CDM projects after 2012 will have an impact on clients' appetites to actively engage in these projects".
Despite the lack of international agreement at Copenhagen, China has a growing domestic climate change policy.
Tung says that the introduction of policies in 2007 for climate change, cleaner production, reducing energy intensity and tackling fossil fuels was a watershed moment for China: "the use of market mechanisms, like project-based credits, helped build awareness in China at a political level and at a local government and business level too. There is a greater awareness of CDM and project-based credits in China than in Hong Kong, even".
Since then, the principle regulator, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which is the super ministry that oversees energy and low carbon matters, has issued a number of directions and plans for climate change and clean energy. Tung says that China has "a fairly coherent and co-ordinated plan to bring in laws and policies to support climate change projects, as opposed to leaving it entirely to the market".
Tung admits that he "was surprised at the depth to which Chinese policy organisations and think tanks have been looking at low carbon policy and direction in China". The Energy Research Institute (ERI) within the NRDC published an 800-page report in 2009 on carbon, lower emissions and lower energy intensity, as part of China's preparation for the Copenhagen negotiations. Elements of the report, with its various recommendations, are also likely to find their way into the country's 12th Five-Year Plan that is currently being prepared for 2011. Tung thinks this next Five-Year Plan will be significant because it will include China's low carbon intensity target reduction of between 40% to 45% by 2020. Tung also points out that, in China, policy initiatives such as this are enforced strictly and are treated in the same way as legislation.
Tung says that despite the general uncertainty over the future of the CDM, many businesses in China are keen to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even before Copenhagen, Tung notes that clients in sectors such as power, utilities and infrastructure were looking to see how they could reduce emissions. He explains that "this emissions reduction work has spread from power to aviation, construction and now shipping and ports. Because we have no emissions trading scheme in this part of the world, businesses are looking to improve their emissions performances operationally".
As in China, Indian lawyers are concerned that interest in CDM projects might be affected by the uncertainty of Copenhagen, but think that domestic and local initiatives will instead come to the fore and play a significant role in implementing the objectives of the climate change agenda.
Jhunjhunwala comments that the Copenhagen Accord "will affect joint ventures with businesses from other countries coming into India", because it may lessen foreign investors' appetites for getting involved in the country's CDM projects.
Reynaers-Kini also thinks that Copenhagen "will have a dampening effect" on CDM, and that businesses will have to wait and see what happens to the CDM projects that are being planned, particularly as "an application process can typically take about 18 months before a project is given a green light". She thinks it will be difficult "to convince clients to be aggressive about future possibilities, because for Indian companies, these possibilities are really restricted to CDM projects".
Both Reynaers-Kini and Jhunjhunwala report that, like the Chinese government, the Indian government, through its Ministry of Environment and Forests, has been working on a number of national initiatives to combat emission levels through a sustainable approach.
According to Jhunjhunwala, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has adopted 24 climate change initiatives, which have come from science-based research, policy development and international co-operation. "These initiatives will not only reduce climate change, but will also encourage foreign investment," he says. The initiatives include establishing an Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment, made up of research bodies and scientists, and committing to different state and national policy initiatives such as action plans on climate change, forestry and CDM projects (see Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, 24 Recent Initiatives Related to Climate Change, 6 January 2010).
Els Reynaers-Kini says that India is trying to balance and address its own energy demands with carbon reduction through alternative energy and other projects. She mentions that a number of domestic developments are in the pipeline for 2011, and there could also be trading in energy saving certificates, which could potentially provide new business opportunities.
She says that India's commitment to reduce carbon is blended with its self-interest, and that "the country does not want to be told via an international treaty just what its environmental commitments should be".
Given the underwhelming results of the Copenhagen Conference, what are the chances of a meaningful international climate change agreement in the future? Many commentators and lawyers are eagerly anticipating the next COP 16 UNFCCC Conference in Mexico in November 2010. Price says that "a lot rests on what happens in Mexico". If there is not international agreement, "businesses will face a conflicting patchwork of domestic legislation that will not coherently price carbon, will not drive investments in new technology and will subject globally active companies to conflicting regulations," he says.
Martel says that "international agreement rests on domestic decisions. I do not think you can have the big players, the big emitters, support these agreements without their domestic agreements coming into place first". Stone echoes this: "At the end of the day, it seems that domestic programs on energy and emissions will be what determine the scope and breadth of an international agreement, and not the other way around".
Stone also thinks that what China does next is a crucial step in terms of going forward. He points out that "it seems that the foundation of a long-term international agreement will be what the US and China can agree on. Post-Copenhagen, a key question going forward is how President Obama will seek to engage with China".
On 24 January 2010, environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China took part in a meeting in New Delhi to discuss their ongoing commitments to the Copenhagen Accord, and the UNFCCC process. They agreed to submit what voluntary mitigation actions they would be undertaking, and to meet on a quarterly basis to continue to co-operate and work together for the next COP meeting in Mexico. They also called for the US$10 billion funding from developed countries to be released to developing countries as soon as possible (see Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of the Second Meeting of Ministers of BASIC Group New Delhi, 24 January 2010).
At the time of writing, around 55 countries, including China, India, the US and the EU, had submitted their emissions reduction targets. As expected, the US submitted a 17% cut from 2005 levels, and the EU put forward a 20% cut from 1990 levels. (For more information see PLC Environment, Legal update, Countries submit GHG emission reduction pledges under Copenhagen Accord (www.practicallaw.com/7-501-4098)). Janos Pasztor, the climate adviser to the UN, did not think these targets would be enough to limit the two degree global rise in temperatures which was agreed in Copenhagen (see The Guardian, Copenhagen pledges fall short of 2C target, says UN climate chief, 2 February 2010). The next scheduled formal meeting for the UNFCCC will take place in Bonn in May 2010, before the COP16 in Mexico at the end of November.